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THE STRUGGLE FOR THE RECOGNITION OF HAITI 
AND LIBERIA AS INDEPENDENT REPUBLICS 

The doctrine of recognition as a principle of Interna- 
tional law appeared in definite form at the close of the 
American Revolution. New states had arisen and success- 
ful revolutions had given birth to new governments.^ In 
Washington's Neutrality Proclamation of 1793, the French 
Republic was recognized and the neutral position of Amer- 
ica was announced.* These principles, developed later by- 
Adams and Jefferson through application to the South 
American colonies which had declared their independence 
of Spain, marked the beginning of the well-defined interna- 
tional principle of recognition.* 

Between 1810 and 1825, the Spanish colonies of Mexico, 
New Granada (Columbia), Venezuela, Peru, Buenos Ayres, 
Chile, Ecuador and Upper Peru (Bolivia) had revolted and 
rejected Spanish dominion.* In 1824, England recognized 
the independence of Buenos Ayres, Mexico and Columbia, 
and gave no heed to the assertion that this "tended to en- 
courage the revolutionary spirit which it had been found so 
difficult to restrain in Europe." ® 

But before the Spanish colonies had gained their inde- 
pendence, and the spirit of democracy had begun to diffuse 
its light, movements were on foot to secure the recognition 
of Haiti. After its discovery by Columbus in 1492, Haitian 
soil was drenched with the blood of the Spaniard and the 
native. Civil wars were begun and bloody scenes were en- 
acted.* In 1533, peace came between the natives and the 

•Paxson, "Independence of South American Republics," pp. 17-18. 
^ Foster, "A Century of American Diplomacy," p. 154. 
' Reddaway, "The Monroe Doctrine," p. 15. 

* Robinson and Beard, "The Development of Modem Europe," Vol. 2, 
p. 22. 

6 Ibid., p. 27. 

' Leger, "Haiti, Her History and Distractors," p. 22. 

369 



370 Journal of Negro History 

Spaniards. Soon thereafter, other Europeans began to 
arrive. The French and the English were attracted by the 
stories of riches and their chances for gain. The bloody 
struggles between these nations and the natives fill many 
pages of Haitian history.' The inhabitants took now the 
one side, now the other. 

Led by Toussaint L'Ouverture, the cause of the French 
was championed. Finding the French yoke as heavy as the 
Spanish yoke, Toussaint struck for absolute liberty.* He 
was not, in a real sense, the liberator of the Haitians, as 
commonly supposed, but he was the precursor of their lib- 
erty." His deportation aroused them to struggle with 
new vigor. Under Dessalines, one of the generals in the 
army of Toussaint L'Ouverture, the rebellion grew more suc- 
cessful, and on January 1, 1804, the army swore to abjure 
their allegiance to France forever, and thereupon declared 
the independence of Haiti." Dessalines was chosen Gov- 
ernor-General and upon abolishing the name "Santo Do- 
mingo," the aboriginal name "Haiti" was reestablished. 

The history of Haiti after 1804 is concerned with in- 
ternal dissensions, and contentions with foreign powers. 
Haiti was not immediately recognized nor was she welcomed 
into the family of nations. Retaliatory measures were 
taken by her government to compel the powers to see the 
advantage in this recognition. Christophe, a contender for 
power with Potion, one of the founders of the republic, is- 
sued in 1816 the proclamation that no negotiation would be 
entered upon with France unless the independence of the 
kingdom of Haiti," political as well as commercial, be pre- 
viously recognized. ^^ 

' Madiou (fils) describes the mutual cruelties of the French and natives. 
"I'Histoire d'Haiti." 

sLeger, "Haiti,"p. 125. 

' In this struggle 50,000 Frenchmen were lost. Gastonnet des Fosses. 
"La Perte d'une Colonie," p. 34. 

"Bird, "The Black Man or Haytian Independence (1869)," p. 60. 

" Christophe assumed the title of king of Haiti in 1811. 



The Stbuggle of Haiti and Liberia for Recognition 371 

In 1823, the independence of Mexico, Columbia, and 
others was recognized by Great Britain, but Haiti after 
nineteen years of independence was not given this consid- 
eration.12' As a result the British trade privileges were abol- 
ished and the import tax of 12 per cent, was levied on the 
products of all nations. ^^ 

Early indications of American commercial relations with 
Haiti and of an unsatisfactory condition may be discerned 
in the following resolutions, the first of which was submitted 
in the Senate, January 11, 1819: 

"Resolved: that the President of the United States be requested 
to communicate to the Senate any information in his possession and 
which, in his opinion, the public interest may permit to disclose, re- 
lating to the seizure and detention of the property of American 
citizens by the government of Haiti, and the state of any negoti- 
ations to procure restitution." " 

On December 31, 1822, the following resolution was sub- 
mitted in the House: 

"Resolved: that the committee on commerce be instructed to in- 
quire into the present state of the trade and intercourse between the 
United States and the Island of Haiti, and report what measures 
would be necessary to improve the commerce between the two 
countries." *^ 

12" During the presidency of Boyer (1818-1848) several invitations were 
sent to the free colored people of the United States to migrate to Haiti. 
Agents were sent and plans to cooperate with colonization groups in America 
were encouraged. The constitution of 1843 abolished the presidency for life, 
which was held by Boyer, and instituted a service for four years. The Republic 
is still governed by the stipulations of this constitution. Leger, p. 179. 

i» Seger, Haiti, p. 179. 

America was subjected to these taxes as shown by: "While the citizens 
of France are scarcely affected in their importations to Haiti, the Americans 
here import and our merchants at home export scarcely any article that is free." 
— "Commercial Relations," Vol. 1, p. 560. 

"Annals of Congress, 15th Congress, 2d Session, p. 113. This resolution 
was agreed to and the Committee was appointed. 

" Annals of Congress, 17th Congress, 2d Session, p. 477. Agreed to without 
debate. 



372 JouENAL OF Negeo History 

As a matter of fact, the trade with Haiti was very important 
during this period. By the report of the Register's OflBce, 
1825, Haiti ranked twenty-ninth in the list of countries 
trading with the United States.^® 

The actual presentation of the question to the country as 
a whole grew out of an invitation to attend the Panama 
Congress. In 1825, General Bohvar, leader of the South 
American revolutionists, invited the states north and south 
of the Isthmus to send delegates to a congress which would 
assemble at Panama. Formal invitations to attend the con- 
gress were received from Mexico, Guatemala and Columbia 
and others. The following suggestions were made as to 
questions to be considered: the interference of European 
powers in America, the recognition of Haiti, the slave trade 
and the formation of an American league." That the recog- 
nition of Haiti was one of the objects of consideration is so 
stated among the lists of subjects in the Official Gazette of 
Columbia. The congress was to determine on what footing 
should be placed the political and commercial relations of 
those portions of our hemisphere, which had obtained their 
independence, but whose independence had not been recog- 
nized by any American or European power, as was for 
many years the case with Haiti.^* Other evidence is found 
in a letter of the Columbian minister, Salazar: "On what 
basis the relations of Haiti, and of other parts of our Hemi- 
sphere that shall hereafter be in like circumstances, are to 
be placed," said he, "is a question simple at first view, but 
attended with serious difficulties when closely examined. 
These arise from the different manner of regarding Afri- 
cans, and from their different rights in Haiti, the United 
States and in other American states. This question will be 
determined at the Isthmus, and if possible, an uniform rule 

" Report of Register, Treasury Department, Gak and Seaton's Register of 
Debaies, appendix, 18th Congress, 2d Session. 

" Bassett, "History of United States," p. 383. 

'■^Official Gazette of Columbia, February, 1826. Quoted by Hayne, 19th 
Cong., 1st Session, Cfak and Seaton's Register, p. 156. 



The Struggle op Haiti and Liberia for Recognition 373 

of conduct adopted in regard to it, or those modifications 
that may be demanded by circumstances." ^* 

A special message was sent to Congress by President 
Adams on December 26, naming the delegates to this con- 
gress, and asking for an appropriation for expenses. Both 
Clay, then Secretary of State, and President Adams wished 
to extend the commercial power of the United States over 
the Americas, and they welcomed this opportunity. They 
disclaimed any desire to enter any league, but left poorly 
defined the objects which would be considered.^** 

The southern point of view, as expressed in the debates 
on this question, was that disaster awaited the Southern 
States, if the United States should send delegates to a con- 
gress in which Haitian representatives would sit, and which 
would consider the separation of Cuba and Porto Rico from 
Spain and the cessation of slavery. This viewpoint was ex- 
pressed by Benton of Missouri, saying: "We buy coffee 
from her, and pay for it; but we interchange no consuls or 
ministers. We receive no mulatto consuls or black ambas- 
sadors. And why? Because the peace of eleven states in 
this Union will not permit the fruits of a successful Negro 
insurrection to be exhibited among them. . . . Who are to 
advise and sit in judgment upon it? Five nations who have 
already put the black man upon an equality with the white, 
not only in their constitutions but in real life; five nations 
who have at this moment (at least some of them) black gen- 
erals in their armies and mulatto Senators in their Con- 
gresses." ^^ 

The same attitude was expressed by Hayne of South 
Carolina. "With nothing connected with slavery," said he, 

"Gale and SeaUm's Register, 19th Cong., 1st Session, p. 329. General 
Bolivar, himself, was kindly disposed to Haiti, as disdosed by the correspondence 
which passed between President Potion and the General, just previous to the 
revolution in Venezuela. 4,000 rifles, provisions and ammunition were given 
by Haiti to the expedition. — "Expedition de Bolivar par le Senateur Marion 
aine," pp. 41-43, 1849. 

2»Cf. "Messages and Papers of the Presidents," Richardson, 1789-1897, 
Vol. 2, p. 320. 

2> Gate and Seaton's Register, 1825-1826, p. 330. 



374 Journal op Negro History 

"can we consent to treat with other nations, and least of all, 
ought we to touch the question of the independence of Haiti, 
in conjunction with revolutionary governments. . . . You 
find men of color at the head of their armies, in their legis- 
lative halls, and in their executive departments. They are 
looking to Hayti, even now, with feelings of the strongest 
fraternity and show, by the very documents before us, that 
they acknowledge her to be independent." ^^ So far as the 
mission itself was concerned, these arguments were far- 
fetched and served rather to delay the time of departure 
than to hinder it. The Senate confirmed the nomination 
and the House voted the expenses. The delegates arrived 
after the close of the sessions of the congress. Another ses- 
sion was to be held at Tacubaya, but because of dissensions 
this congress did not assemble. Therefore, the Panama 
Congress served only to excite debate on the slavery issue 
and the recognition question, and this last became a rallying 
cry for the opponents of the administration. 

During the intervening years between 1825 and 1860, 
many memorials, petitions and recommendations were made 
to Congress respecting the recognition of Haiti. In June, 
1838, a petition was received by the Senate from "certain 
citizens of the United States praying that a diplomatic rep- 
resentative be sent and commercial regulations be entered 
into with the Republic." ^' This, as others, was laid on the 
table. While this session continued, petitions were re- 
peatedly presented. John Quincy Adams was the champion 
of this cause, as of that against the Gag Resolutions, and, 
again and again, it was through him that the memorials 
were presented. 

Objections were frequently made to the presentation of 
these memorials. On December 19, Legare of South Caro- 
lina said: "As sure as you live. Sir, if this course is per- 
mitted to go on, the sun of this Union will go down — it will 
go down in blood and go down to rise no more. I will vote 

«2 Oale and Seaton's Register, 1825-1826, p. 166. 

22 Congressional Globe, 25th Congress, 2d Session, p. 457. 



The Struggle op Haiti and Liberia for Recognition 375 

unhesitatingly against nefarious designs like these. They 
are treason." ^* In 1839, while the House was considering 
an outfit for a charge d'affaires to Holland, Slade of Ver- 
mont began a speech in favor of appointing a diplomatic 
agent to Haiti. He spoke until the House refused to hear 
the continuation of his remarks.^* A resolution was of- 
fered later to appoint a commercial agent to Haiti, but it 
was ruled out of order. ^* In the same year, the Committee 
on Foreign Affairs asked to be discharged from the "fur- 
ther consideration of sundry memorials asking for the open- 
ing of international relations with Haiti." ^^ In spite of 
this request, the next year, 1840, petitions urging the recog- 
nition were continued. ^^ That Garrison was active in this 
agitation of the abolition period is shown by the statement 
of Wise, of Virginia: "it is but part and parcel of the Eng- 
hsh scheme set on foot by Garrison, and to bring abolition 
as near as possible. . . . " ^* 

In 1844, the Committee on Foreign Affairs made a report 
on the subject of commercial intercourse with the repubUc 
of Haiti. Ten thousand copies were ordered to be printed.^" 
As a result of this report, and the agitation of years back, a 
commission was appointed to Haiti in 1844 and again in 
1851.^^ In the latter year, an invitation was made to the 
United States Government to join France and England in an 
offensive interference in Haiti.^^ The correspondence and 
the reports of one of the American Commissioners, Robert 

2< National Intelligencer, December 19, 21, 1838. 

^ Congressional Globe, 25th Congress, 3d Session, p. 219. 

» Ibid., p. 220. 

" Ibid., p. 241, March 4, 1839. 

" Ibid., 26th Congress, 1st Session, p. 164. 

2' Garrison and Garrison, "Life of Garrison," Vol. 2, p. 248. Liberator, 
9: 3. 

'" Congressumal Globe, 28th Congress, 1st Session, p. 504. 

" Clark, "United States Intervention in Hayti (1852)," p. 4. 

^ Ibid., p. 21. In 1844, San Domingo seceded and became the Dominican 
Republic. Frequent quarrels ensued between the two parts of the Island. 
Therefore the reason for this suggestion for interference. Cf. "San Domingo 
and the United States," John Bassett Moore, Review of Reviews, March, 1905, 
p. 298. 



376 Journal of Negro History 

Walsh, was made public in 1852, and they were widely dis- 
cussed.^ The reports were unjust and unfair estimations 
even of the Haitian commercial situation. A reliable esti- 
mate of the trade of Haiti with the United States, at this 
time, places the trade as equal to the total trade of Vene- 
zuela, Bolivia, Argentina, the Cisalpine Republics and Peru 
with the United States. Mexico, with more than sixteen 
times as large a population as Haiti, exported from the 
United States in 1851, $330,000 less than Haiti and used for 
the purpose 26,000 tons less of shipping.** And yet these 
countries were recognized as independent republics, while 
Haiti was denied that right. 

European countries were not as slow as the United 
States in granting recognition to Haiti. England formally 
acknowledged the Republic in 1825, and sent a Consul-Gen- 
eral.^* An imperfect recognition was granted by Charles 
X of France, by sending Baron Mackau as his representa- 
tive.** Its independence was recognized fully in 1838, after 
thirty-foTU" years of independence. Two treaties were nego- 
tiated, one of them political, by which the independence of 
the republic was recognized; the other financial, by which 
the claims of the French colonists were reduced to sixty 
million francs." This debt made Haiti almost a dependency 
of France for over sixty years.*® Before 1860, all important 
countries had representatives in Haiti. Great Britain, 
Spain, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Portugal, Sweden, Han- 
over and Austria were all duly chronicled in the Almanach 
de Gotha.** In the language of Frederick Douglass: "After 
Haiti had shaken off the fetters of bondage, and long after 
her freedom and independence had been recognized by all 

" Clark, p. 30. Congress. Globe, 32d Cong., 1st Session, p. 1769. 

'^Clark, p. 28. 

» Sir Spencer St. John, "Hayti or The Black RepubUc," p. 86. 

^IMd.,p.3&). 

" Leger, "Becueil des traitfe et Conventions de la Republique d'Haiti," 23. 

^^ Congress. Globe, 37th Congress, 2d Session, p. 1776. Speeches of Chas. 
Sumner, published variously, Washington, April 23, 1862, p. 6. Cf. "Contre la 
Reconnoissance de la Republique Haitienne (1825)" par M. Coustelin. La 
Norman p&*e Librairie, Paris. 



The Struggle of Haiti and Liberia foe Recognition 377 

other civilized nations, we continued to refuse to acknowl- 
edge the fact and treated her as outside the sisterhood of na- 
tions." 

By act of Congress in 1819, the colony of Liberia was 
established. During the years following, groups of col- 
onists left America for this shore.'^ The decade after 1832 
was marked by the action of the independent State coloniza- 
tion societies. In 1847, the people of Liberia undertook 
self-government, which was adopted by popular vote. A 
later convention drew up a declaration of independence, 
and a new constitution modeled on that of the United States 
was adopted, July 26, 1847. In September, it was ratified 
by the people, and President Roberts took office, January 3, 
1848.« 

President Roberts set out on a voyage to the foreign coun- 
tries with the intention of seeking favor for his country. 
In many countries, he was welcomed and his efforts were 
successful. In England, for example, not only was recog- 
nition secured, but also an armed vessel of small tonnage 
and a few guns were given him.*^ In the United States, 
not even the formal recognition of Liberia was obtained. 
This was due, in some measure, to the slavery question and 
the contention which was always aroused when any subject 
even remotely related thereto was presented.^^ 

When Liberia declared its independence in 1848, the 
second Negro republic entered its demand for the recogni- 
tion of its sovereignty by the United States. Henry Clay, 
one of the early oflficers of the American Colonization So- 
ciety, wrote in a letter dated Ashland, October 18, 1851: "I 
have thought for years that the independence of Liberia 
ought to be recognized by our government, and I have fre- 

59 Cf. Kennedy's "Colonization Report." 

*" McPherson, "History of Liberia," Johns Hopkins University Studies, 
9th Series, X, p. 34. 

« Ibid., p. 39. 

''Ibid., p. 38. "But the delicacy with which the dissension on the slavery 
question made it necessary to handle every subject remotely bearing on that 
bone of contention, prevented him (Roberts) from obtaining even the formal 
recognition of Liberia." 



378 Journal of Negro History 

quently urged it upon persons connected with the adminis- 
tration and I shall continue to do so if I have suitable oppor- 
tunity." 

England recognized the independence of Liberia in 1848 
and France in 1852.^' In 1855 treaties were formed with 
the Hanseatic Republics, Lubeck, Bremen and Hamburg, 
with Belgium in 1858, with Denmark in 1861, with Italy and 
the Netherlands in 1862, with Holland, Sweden, Norway and 
Haiti in 1864, with Portugal and Denmark in 1865 and 
Austria in 1867.^ For a period of years the United States 
had maintained a commercial agent at Monrovia and at 
Gaboon.** It was evident to those acquainted with the com- 
mercial situation that recognition was desirable, for both of 
these Republics.^ 

In 1859, the leading northern newspapers carried adver- 
tisements from the Haitian government, offering homes with 
land and free passage to those unable to provide the same. 

« Congress. Globe, 37th Cong., 2d Session, p. 2500. 

" "Treaties and Conventions concluded between the Republic of Liberia 
and Foreign Powers, 1848-1892," pp. 9, 17, 23, 30, published by the Department 
of State, Monrovia, Liberia. 

** Congress. Globe, 37th Cong., 2d Session, p. 2501. 

«This is quite evident from the fact that in 1860, out of 60 countries 
trading with the United States, Haiti stood 27th and Liberia 29th. (Statistical 
View of Commerce of United States, exhibiting the value of exports to and 
imports from foreign countries, and the number and tonnage of American 
and foreign vessels arriving from and departing to each foreign country during 
the fiscal year ending June 30, 1860, Treasury Department, Register's Office, 
AprU 21, 1862.) 

John L. Wnson, commercial agent at Cape Haytien, wrote, June 5, 1854: 
"By a recognition of the Independence of Hayti, our commerce would be 
likely to advance still more. Our citizens trading there would enjoy more 
privileges, besides standing on a better footing. Many decided advantages 
might be obtained through treaty and oiu* own government would exercise a 
wholesome influence over theirs, of which it stands much in need." — "Com- 
mercial Relations," Vol. 4, p. 509. 

Seth Webb, commercial agent at Port au Prince, wrote, December 12, 1861: 
"I must say with frankness to the Department, that I find my position much 
embarrassed by the failure of our government to take any steps toward 
acknowledging the nationality of Haiti, or entering into the usual relations of 
country, which exist between neighboring peoples." — To Hon. Wm. H. Seward, 
Sec. of State, U. S. Commercial Agency, Port au Prince. 



The Struggle op Haiti and Liberia for Recognition 379 

A reply was published in the Tribune addressed especially 
to the free people of color of Missouri and the North. A 
significant clause in this reply said: "Remember that when 
you pass beyond the limits of the United States, the govern- 
ment and laws of this country cease to protect you." " A 
circiilar was sent out in 1860, addressed to the "Blacks, 
Men of color, and Indians in the United States and British 
North American Provinces," and after calling attention to 
the prosperous condition of the country, added "that our 
relations with the powers represented in Haiti are on a 
footing of perfect harmony." *^ 

The triumph of the Repubhcan party in 1860 foreshad- 
owed the exclusion of slavery from the territories, and the 
ultimate ruin of the institution. Six weeks after Lincoln's 
election, South Carolina had adopted the Ordinance of Se- 
cession, and the Gulf States soon followed. There were 
only four slave-holding States with representatives in Con- 
gress, Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri. At 
the opening of the 37th Congress, 1861, the President's mes- 
sage contained the following: "If any good reason exists 
why we should persevere longer in withholding our recog- 
nition of the independence and sovereignty of Haiti and 
Liberia, I am unable to discern it. Unwilling, however, to 
inaugurate a novel poUcy in regard to them without the ap- 
probation of Congress, I submit to your consideration the 
expediency of an appropriation for maintaining a Charg6 
d' Affaires near each of these states. It does not admit of 
doubt that important commercial advantages might be se- 
cured by favorable treaties with them." ^^ Commenting on 
Lincoln's message. Garrison terms it "feeble and ram- 
bling" and he "could find nothing in it to praise except the 
recommendation that Congress should recognize the inde- 
pendence and sovereignty of Haiti and Liberia." *" 

" April 18, 1850. Quoted in N. Y. Tribune, November 9, 1860. 

«/6td., Novembers, 1860. 

*» "Messages and Papers of the Presidents," Vol. 4, p. 47. 

'» Garrison and Garrison-Garrison, Vol. 4, p. 33. Liberator, 31: 194. 



380 Journal op Negro History 

The 45th annual report, January 21, 1862, of the Amer- 
ican Colonization Society contained a section calling atten- 
tion to the message.®^ The board of managers of the Penn- 
sylvania Colonization Society took note of the same. May, 
1862.^^ Newspapers and magazines took up the agitation. 
The Philadelphia North American said: "It is high time 
that Congress should recognize Liberia as an independent, 
self-sustaining government. Such a measure would be per- 
fectly comformable to the principles, pohcy and direct in- 
terests of our country." ^ 

On February 4, 1862, Charles Sumner from the Commit- 
tee on Foreign Relations, introduced a bill "authorizing the 
President to appoint Diplomatic Representatives to the Re- 
publics of Haiti and Liberia respectively. Each Represen- 
tative so appointed is to be accredited as Commissioner and 
Consul-General and is to receive, out of any money in the 
Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the compensation of 
commissioners provided for by Act of Congress, approved 
August 18, 1856; but the compensation of the Representa- 
tive at Liberia is not to exceed $4,000." ®^ With the intro- 
duction of the bill, Sumner spoke at some length, favoring 
the passage of the bUl.** Following the speech of Sumner, 
the opposition arose. Davis, of Kentucky, said: "If after 
such a measure should take effect, the Republic of Haiti and 
the RepubUc of Liberia were to send their Ministers Pleni- 
potentiary or their Charge d' Affaires to our government, 
they would have to be received by the President and by all 
the functionaries of the government upon the same terms of 
equality with similar representatives from other powers. 
If a full-blooded Negro were sent in that capacity from 

^' African Repository, February, 1862, p. 41. 

"The Executive Committee of the American Colonization Society observe 
with deep interest that the President of the United States has in his late message 
recommended that the RepubUc of Liberia should be acknowledged as inde- 
pendent. They also notice his recommendation of some plan of colonization 
for free people of color in some clime congenial to them." 

■^2 Ibid., May, 1862, p. 157. 

^md., AprO, 1862, p. 111. 

" Congress. Globe, 37th Cong., 2d Session, February 4, 1862. 



The Struggle of Haiti and Libebia for Recognition 381 

either of the two countries, by the laws of nations he could 
demand that he be received precisely on the same terms of 
equality with the white representative from the powers on 
the earth composed of white people." ** This sentiment 
of the opposition, however, was expressed in harsher terms 
in some instances. Through Saulsbury, of Maryland, this 
sentiment again was: "How fine it will look, after emanci- 
pating the slaves in this District, to welcome here at the 
White House an African, full-blooded, all gilded and be- 
laced, dressed in court style, with wig and sword and tights 
and shoe-buckles and ribbons and spangles and many other 
adornments which African vanity will suggest;" and "If 
this bill should pass the Houses of Congress and become a 
law, I predict that in twelve months, some Negro will walk 
upon the floor of the Senate and carry his family into that 
which is apart for foreign Ministers. If that is agreeable 
to the tastes and feelings of the people of this country, it is 
not to mine. . . ." ^ 

To these attacks, Sumner replied: "I content myself 
with a single remark. I have more than once had the op- 
portunity of meeting citizens of those repubUcs and I say 
nothing more than truth when I add that I have foimd them 
so refined, and so full of self-respect that I am led to be- 
lieve no one of them charged with a mission from his gov- 
ernment will seek any society where he will not be entirely 
welcome." *^ A letter from the Commercial Agent at Port 
au Prince was read, urging immediate recognition in order 
to counteract "the schemes of foreign powers"; adding 
further that "the Haitians believed that when the present 
administration came into power in the United States, our 
former coldness and neglect would cease; and they feel and 
do not hesitate to express a bitter disappointment that noth- 
ing has yet been done." *^ The bill was passed by the Senate, 
by a vote of 32 yeas to 7 nays. In the House, it was cham- 

" Globe, 37th Congress, 2d Session, p. 1806. 

es/fcid., pp. 2501-2506. 

" Ibid., p. 1807. 

" Seth Webb to Seward, Sec. of State, December 12, 1861. 



382 Journal of Negro History 

pioned by Gooch of Massachusetts and passed by a vote of 
86 yeas to 37 nays, and with the President's signature be- 
came a law. In November, 1864, a treaty of friendship, 
commerce and navigation was signed between the United 
States and Haiti.** A similar treaty was signed with Li- 
beria.®" 

Both of the Repubhcs have felt deeply indebted to 
Charles Sumner for the passage of this bill. The Liberian 
Commissioners, Alexander Crummell, Edward Blyden, and 
J. D. Johnson, expressed thanks for his discretion in secur- 
ing its passage.®^ The repubUc of Haiti as late as 1871 
manifested its gratitude for his continued interest in its 
welfare by presenting him with a medal and by an order 
that his portrait be placed in its capitol.*'' The A. M. E. 
Church, representing thousands of Negroes in the United 
States, expressed the sentiment of this people in a resolu- 
tion adopted in August, 1862, to the effect "that, in the 
noble act of the United States Senate in passing a law recog- 
nizing the independence of Haiti and Liberia, we see the 
hand of God in a movement which we regard as ominous of 
good for the race." ** 

Thus after Haiti had been an independent power for 
sixty years and Liberia for fifteen years, the government of 
the United States granted recognition to them as inde- 
pendent republics, on the eve of the death of the slave sys- 
tem. Under the average circumstances, prompt recognition 
may have come as the result of the efforts of the nations 

" La Republique d'Haiti et les Etats-Unis de rAm^rique, dfeirant rendre 
durables et solides I'amiti^ et la bonne entente, qui regnent heureusement 
entre les deux nations liberales, ont resolu de fixer d'une mani&re claire, nette 
et positive les regies qui devront 6tre, k I'avenir, religieusement suivies entre 
I'une et I'autre, au moyen d'un traits d'amiti^, de commerce et de navigation, 
ainsi que d'extradition de criminels fugitifs. — ^Leger, "Recueil des Traites," 
etc., p. 84. 

'" "Treaties and Conventions concluded between the Republic of Liberia 
and Foreign Powers, 1848-1892." 

M Grimk6, "Chas. Sumner," p. 343. 

s^Chas. Sumner's Works, Vol. XIV, pp. 306-309, XV, pp. 270-272. 
Memoirs and Letters of Chas. Sumner, E. L. Pierce, pp. 68-69. 

*' The African Repository, August, 1862, p. 255. This was passed after 
thanking the Liberian Commissioners, who had addressed them. 



The Stkuggle op Haiti and Libekia for Recognition 383 

themselves, as in the case of the republic of Texas.^* But 
because of the unusual circumstance which the adoption 
of recognition for Negro republics would produce — holding 
some as slaves and recognizing others as equals — these 
republics were forced to ally themselves with the oppo- 
nents of slavery and to encourage the presentation of their 
case through the champions of anti-slavery in the legis- 
lative halls. Without regard to their more recent internal 
poUtics and modern difficulties, the recognition of these 
repubUcs as independent powers forms one of the great 
landmarks in the Negro's progress toward democracy, and 
justice. 

Charles H. Wesley 

"Resolution of the Senate: Resolved, that the mdependence of Texaa 
ought to be acknowledged by the United States whenever satisfactory infor- 
mation shall be received that it has in successful operation a civil government 
capable of performing the duties and fulfilling the obligations of an independent 
power. — Journal of the Senate, July 1, 1836.